Dancers deliver unique performance

15 November 2018

International choreographer lends her expertise to celebratory show

An internationally renowned choreographer has worked with local dancers to deliver a unique performance to celebrate a milestone in the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) history.

Risa Jaroslow has worked alongside five third year BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching students to create Project 190.

The dance theatre performance, which celebrated 190 years of the Institution’s history and the community surrounding the University, featured students, staff, alumni and members of local dance/arts organisations. It was debuted to a full house at UCLan’s Media Factory.

The American, who has been involved in the dance industry for nearly 45 years, has worked with the students while also coaching and mentoring the volunteer performers.

Risa said: “Everyone involved in this project has been great to work with.  The third-year students in the dance performance and teaching department were helpful co-facilitators, they were full of good ideas that they brought to every rehearsal. They were eager, open and they were attentive and supportive to the project participants, who were brand new to dance and performance, which I very much appreciated.  

“The faculty and staff of the department were wonderfully supportive, and all the project participants worked hard and with generosity to each other and to the work we made together.”

As well as running her own company, Risa Jaroslow & Dancers, she has taught dance, performance and choreographer at institutions across the United States and Europe, while working with diverse communities on New York arts programmes.

"The faculty and staff of the department were wonderfully supportive, and all the project participants worked hard and with generosity to each other and to the work we made together."

Adriene Turner was one of the undergraduates who took part in weekly planning meetings with Risa and delivered her ideas and exercises. The project was part of a module for students to work alongside professional dance artists to see how they balance the demands of creative, artistic pursuit and facilitation.

The 21-year-old, from Birmingham, said: “Being able to witness people from a variety of ages and dance experience interact with one another, support each other through the creative process and construct unique and personal movement phrases for the final performance was inspiring to see. Also seeing the confidence level of the performers who had not done previous dance training grow more and more each week was wonderful. 

She added: “Working with Risa has been such an enriching learning experience. As a facilitator she has been really encouraging towards me. She has made me feel I have a better understanding that as a facilitator there are multiple strategies throughout the process that I can enlist to bring the most out of the performers to make the dance the best it can be.”

The special evening also saw the launch of three in-house dance companies; Aboutime Dance Company, Preston Youth Dance Companies and Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance.

Ruth Spencer, Co-Course Leader BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching, added: “It’s been really inspiring as Risa has come with a whole new international perspective. She’s worked across different contexts and has so much wisdom to pass on. She’s been amazing.”

Risa Jaroslow working with the students
Risa Jaroslow working with the students